Rare book dealer charged after The Pilfered Eagles lyrics were revealed

In the late 1970s, as Southern California rock band the Eagles sailed to stardom, one of the band’s main songwriters generated tons of lyrics and handwritten notes, including lyrics on FM radios such as “Hotel California”.

And then the papers disappeared.

Nearly five decades later, Glenn Horowitz, a New York rare book dealer, and two other men have been charged in Manhattan State Supreme Court with conspiring to sell about 100 pages of the stolen notes written by an Eagles frontman, Don Henley, is lying to law enforcement and fabricating stories about the provenance of the papers, which are valued at around $1 million.

“This action exposes the truth about highly personal stolen item music memorabilia sales hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” said Irving Azoff, director of Mr. Henley. “No one has the right to sell illegally obtained goods or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history.”

Among those charged is Mr Horowitz, 66, a prolific dealer who helped create a frothy market in writers’ archives, retaining the value of binders of manuscripts, drafts, letters and ephemera in a coherent and salable whole. He placed the papers of Norman Mailer, Gabriel García Márquez, Tom Wolfe, Alice Walker and others in major university libraries, and also negotiated important deals with musicians: In 2016 he sold the huge archive from Bob Dylan to two institutions in Oklahoma for an estimated sum of up to $20 million.

Lawyers for Mr. Horowitz and the other defendants have denied the charges. “The DA’s office alleges crime where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of highly respected professionals,” they said in a statement. “These men are innocent.

The indictment is a stunning turning point for Mr Horowitz, a stalwart of the New York rare book and manuscript market known for his keen business acumen, deep literary knowledge and showman flair. A visit to his Midtown office with a terrace overlooking the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art can present a glimpse of a choice historical letter or a jaw-dropping literary artifact – complete with a commentary indicating that the visit was not recorded.

Mr. Horowitz obtained the notes from Mr. Henley in 2005, according to a press release from Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney. The manuscripts were originally stolen from Mr Henley in the late 1970s by a writer working on a book about the band, his office said.

The liner notes include handwritten lyrics from “Hotel California,” the title track from the band’s inevitable 1976 album.

Mr Henley became aware of the banknotes’ reappearance when Mr Horowitz sold them to two other collectors, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski, who then tried to market them further. According to the district attorney’s office, Mr. Henley filed police reports and told collectors the tickets were stolen.

“Rather than make any effort to ensure that they did indeed have rightful ownership, the defendants responded by engaging in a year-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts,” the office of the Prosecutor said. district attorney.

The men sought to launder the notes through Sotheby’s auction houses and engaged in a five-year effort to hide the provenance of the documents, the district attorney’s office said. Mr. Horowitz would later leverage the 2016 death of a second Eagles leader, Glenn Frey, as possible cover, and suggest that he was Mr. Horowitz’s initial source for the newspapers, according to the press release.

Mr. Frey “alas, is dead, and identifying him as the source would make that go away once and for all,” Mr. Horowitz said in a fabricated provenance statement after the notes were seized by investigators from a warehouse of Sotheby’s, the district attorney’s office said.

Mr. Horowitz was charged with conspiracy, attempted criminal possession of stolen property and obstruction of prosecution. Mr. Inciardi and Mr. Kosinski have both been charged with possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

Alex Traub and Jennifer Schussler contributed report.

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